Rifle bills introduced in Albany New York
Albany — Several more counties would become part of the state’s rifle hunting zone for big game under legislative proposals introduced this year.
Whether the bills – which would add Albany, Rockland, Cayuga and part of Ontario County to the state’s rifle zone – advance beyond the committee stage remains to be seen.
State Sen. Neil D. Breslin, D-Albany, introduced the Albany County rifle bill (S6849), which was referred to the senate environmental conservation committee for review. Breslin’s bill would allow rifles for big game everywhere within the county except the bowhunting-only portion of the county – Wildlife Management Unit 4J, a heavily populated area which includes the city of Albany.
“Advances in shooting technology with regard to shotguns, including the use of rifled shotgun barrels and specialized ammunition, have given shotguns ballistic characteristics similar to that of rifles,” Breslin wrote in the bill.
Assemblywoman Annie Rabbitt, R-Greenwood Lake, sponsored the Rockland county legislation (A6591), which was also referred to the assembly’s environmental conservation committee.
In Cayuga County, Assemblyman Brian Kolb, R-Canandaigua, was the chief sponsor of the bill (A9638). There is also a Senate companion bill (S6801).
“Since 2005, several counties in the Finger Lakes Region, Central New York and the Southern Tier have been allowed to permit hunting of deer and bear with rifles,” Kolb wrote in a memo attached to the bill. “There have been very few reported adverse incidents or problems. Given the rural nature of Cayuga County and the safety record of hunters in the counties where rifle hunting has been permitted, it would be reasonable to now permit rifle hunters in Cayuga County the same opportunities.”
The Cayuga County bill also sits in the environmental conservation committee.
Michael Nozzolio, R-Fayette, is the sponsor of the Ontario County bill (S2975), which if approved would allow rifle hunting in the portion of the county south of State Route 20.
Several counties have been added to the state’s rifle zone in recent years. At times, the legislation was approved after the DEC’s hunting regulations guide was printed for that season, forcing the state to attempt to get word out to hunters of the approval of rifle use. But officials said the problem wasn’t a major one since the rifle bills’ passage creates a less restrictive situation.
Rifles are now allowed in all of the state’s Northern Zone, as well as the Southern Zone counties of Orange, Rensselaer, Sullivan, Ulster, Columbia, Greene, Delaware, Chenango, Cortland, Otsego, Schoharie, Montgomery, Madison, Tioga,
Chemung, Schuyler, Yates, Steuben, Allegany and Cattaraugus and Wyoming counties. Rifles are also allowed in a portion of eastern Broome County, the southern portion of Chautauqua County, as well as the sections of Washington,
Herkimer, Fulton, Oneida and Oswego counties which lie in the Southern Zone.